Focus on Texture

I had decided that this year I would play around in my art journal whenever possible but without recourse to prompts.  However, some friends from my “art tribe” convinced me that I should check out Art Journal Adventure and I decided to participate in a dip in and out fashion.  I recognise that I am someone who, in my present hectic circumstances, needs an occasional poke and a prod to actually find the time to just be playful with my art and that is something that journal prompts encourage me to do.  However, I am also going to attempt a themed art journal for the first time and will dip into that when the mood and mojo arises.  From time to time, I may well incorporate the Art Journal Adventure prompts into my themed art journal.

I got off to a good start as far as being flexible with participation goes because I did diddlysquat with the first week’s prompt.  I did, however, make use of this second week’s prompt.  It was pretty simple – the focus was to be on texture.  I am not one for adding much dimension to my art work – I am definitely a 2D person – so I focused on creating visual texture as opposed to anything tactile.  I had a half-finished page in my art journal that I hated.  It had been malingering in the journal for several months but I opted not to rip it out because I rather liked the art work on the reverse side of it.  A couple of months ago, when I had some surplus black acrylic, I smeared the paint across the page.  I decided, therefore, to return to that page as the starting point for my “texture” page.  I added some torn paper collage, spatter with pearl blue paint and white paint, printing with found objects, dribble, and finally some alphabet stamps.  It was all a bit random and abstract so I chose to give it a focal point by adding the word “Focus” which is my word for this year.  As art journal pages go, it is pretty mundane and mediocre but it is a massive improvement on what was beneath that black paint so I am happy.

1 Texture


I am continuing with Life Book this year.  My schedule is swamped and I struggle to find adequate free time but I felt like committing to an art course would actually compel me to carve out a decent portion of time each week for art because my art time is hugely beneficial to me.  As with previous years, the first lesson involved selecting a key word for the year in order to establish some sort of intention.  In 2015 I chose the word Balance and that actually did help me be mindful of the need to keep all areas and aspects of my life functioning and progressing.  Last year I chose Momentum.  That did not work quite so well, largely because I was trying to bring order to a couple of things I really had little or no control over and had to devote a lot of time and energy to something that was mentally exhausting and soul-sapping.  Goodbye and good riddance to 2016.

This year I have settled on the word Focus.  I feel the need to simplify and streamline my life, slough off the extraneous things that drain me and leave me frustrated and unfulfilled or at least suck up valuable time and instead invest my time and energy in the people and things that bring me joy, have value, and make my life better.  In short, I need to focus on the things that matter most and stop being depleted by the things that don’t.  Let’s see if I can manage to do just that in 2017.

1 Focus

Momentum starts with Small Actions

The first lesson of Life Book 2016 was a warm up exercise taken by Tamara Laporte.  It involved lots of layering with different techniques and media and also involved using our word of the year and a symbol that resonated with that word.

Until last year’s Life Book, I had never set a word of the year but it was a concept that intrigued me.  Last year I chose Balance as my word and it was interesting how much it helped me to have that as a focus.  Every time I, for instance, felt assuaged my guilt over sitting and doing some art rather than dusting I could remind myself that I was striving to build some balance back into my life and that involved making time for myself and investing in myself.  I was not striving for anything as ridiculously impossible as a 50/50 balance, was not looking to have more than a reasonable amount of “me time”, nor did I want my investment in myself to impinge on family life, somehow interfere with my role as a wife and mother.  However, my life was way out of kilter to a degree that I was discombobulated.  Having the word “balance” in mind and setting that as my goal for 2015 really did help me strive to achieve that and ultimately I did attain much better balance in my life.  I also realised through that process that even though I am constantly juggling a whole lot of balls and have a whole lot of different things that I am trying to keep in balance, it is absolutely OK for me to drop some of those balls.  There are glass balls that are precious and vulnerable and too special to drop so those are the ones to focus on but if a few of those rubber balls fall – if the dusting doesn’t get done, if I make quick and easy pasta for dinner instead of the meal I had intended – that is OK.

This year, therefore, I thought long and hard about the word I wanted to set myself for the year.  I thought long and hard and came up with nothing.  I knew all of the things I wanted to achieve this year, the things I needed to tackle, overcome, things I needed to develop, but I could not distill that down into one word or even a pithy phrase.  Finally, a friend suggested a word for me that encapsulated all of the things I was trying to concentrate into my focal point for the year: Momentum.  My focus for this year is about taking the things I started last year, things in several areas of my life, and driving them forwards.  There are things I really need to dig deep and fight to achieve, things I need to advocate strongly for, and there are things I want to gradually develop and refine and hone.  Momentum works for both those drives and I like that it is a positive word that still chimes with some of the negative stuff I need to battle through.  So Momentum it is.

Week 1 - Warm Up - Word - Momentum

It is interesting for me to compare the warm up piece I did for this year’s Life Book with the piece I did for Life Book last year – my first ever online art lesson indeed.  Evidently, layering is something I still struggle with.  Stencilling definitely continues to be my nemesis.  However, I managed to build up the colours to be much bolder and I have also learned to have a much stronger focal point in much more abstract pieces – even though my arrow symbol went badly wrong because of the spray inks getting under my masked shape and reactivating all over the place.  Baby steps is still progress though.

Finding Focus and Direction in Goals

I have been a bit rudderless since I relocated to America.  So much of 2013 was driven by the whole immigration process that all of my other hobbies, interests and bits and pieces that contribute towards that messy thing that is my identity had to be pushed to the peripheries and have consequently fallen by the wayside.  I need to get my bit of my life back on track and, as such, decided to set myself some achievable goals for 2014.  I don’t do Resolutions so these goals are not about change but are about things to aim for in order to give me a bit of focus and as a means to ensuring that I do actually devote a bit more time to myself this year.  Since I am also trying to learn a new skill in my new environment, I thought I might as well have a bash at setting my goals out in my art journal.